The Role of Deities

An analysis of the role of deities in “The Iliad” by Homer, the poetry of Sappho and “Pericles Funeral Oration” by Thucydides.

This paper discusses how the Gods (deities) play an extremely important part throughout “The Iliad” by Homer, the poetry of Sappho and “Pericles Funeral Oration” by Thucydides and through much of ancient literature. It examines how in “The Iliad,” Achilles often turns to the Gods to aid him in battle and in his personal life, how Sappho often wrote of the Gods and Goddesses in particular Aphrodite and how Thucydides does not directly mention the Gods but puts Athens on a pedestal in their place.
“Sappho writes often of love and affection, but her affinity for the deities is never far from her poems. She often asks for guidance and aid in love and life, just as Achilles did in “The Iliad.” Sappho writes most commonly about Aphrodite, Peitho, Ares, Hecate, Hera, Hermes, Hephaestus, and the Muses. Her poems also show the Gods interacting with humans, and aiding them at important times, such as blessing them at weddings. “All the High Gods from Olympus, to bless the Two, descend.” Her lyric poetry (meant to be sung along while playing a lute) was different in that it was often written from the deities’ point of view. Homer and Pericles mostly wrote from the human, heroic point of view.”